Will Texas Flip?
by Isabella Zollner
If you’re paying attention to the polls, you may have seen that Texas is closer to being a blue state than it has been in a long time. In fact, Texas’ Republican margin has been closing more and more with every presidential election. In the 2004, more Texans voted for the Republican Nominee by almost 2,000,000 votes and with a 22.87% margin. For the 2020 Trump vs. Biden election Texas that margin is 1.4% in favor of Trump according to Nate Silver’s polling website 538.com, which averages hundreds of polls. That is a 21.77% difference which is absolutely mind-boggling! Texas, one of America’s staple Conservative states, is only a quarter of a million voters away from going blue. For reference, there are more than 16 million registered voters in Texas. In 4 years the voters needed to flip Texas have gone from near 2,000,000 to only around 250,000. Texas voting in favor of Biden, a Democrat, for president is something nobody was anticipating until these polls started rolling in. If Trump becomes the first incumbent Republican to lose Texas in 50 years, he will lose 38 electoral votes. Trump needs 270 electoral votes to win and without Texas his prospects are dismal, which is, you know, good.
But Texas didn’t just pull this vote out of a hat. Over the past 16 years, Texas has shown a slow progression towards becoming a bluer state. In fact every election, since 2004, Texas has seen at least a 6% decrease in Republican votes. 6% might not seem like a lot but when there are over 10 million people voting in Texas, 6% isn’t such a small number anymore. But why the sudden jump to only a 1.5% margin?
Well, there isn’t a single reason for Texas’ change of heart. But, a lot of it comes from the vast majority of Texans who registered to vote for this election. Texas added a novel 1.8 million voters this year. More importantly, it isn’t just any random group of people that registered to vote. Most of those new voters share the demographics of an average Democratic voter. One analysis said that 60%, close to 1,080,000 of those voters, are people of color or under 25. Two groups that tend to vote for Democrats.
This turn out of diverse and liberal new voters is hardly surprising. Texas is on the border to Mexico and has thousands of immigrant and first generation Mexican Americans living there. And while it has always been true that Texas has a diverse population of possible voters, not many took action — until now. This outrageous increase in registered voters could mean that we will finally see the voices of Texas’ POC population represented in their Presidential election.
But, as is easily anticipated, the Republican party is not on board with Texas voting democrat. The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, has acted in fashion with many Republican leaders facing a large wave of democratic votes by mail or absentee ballots. Gov. Abbott ordered on October 1st that every county in Texas will only be allotted one ballot drop-off box. You can understand that in a country the size of Harris County, which is coincidentally largely democratic, with nearly 5,000,000 people, this causes insanely long lines. Many people who have young children or jobs with strict or long hours will find it much harder to return their ballot because of this order.
Various civil rights groups sued to prevent Texas from enforcing this order. A federal judge agreed that this was an act of voter suppression and blocked the ruling. However, another three judge panel halted that ruling and decided that this ruling could be kept. So, through all of these rulings and orders and blockings Texas still only has one ballot drop-off box per precinct.
This is not the first and will not be the final way that voter suppression will be attempted during our election. This is why it is so important that you make a plan and vote. If you use a mail-in or absentee ballot, read the directions very carefully and follow these directions exactly. Do not post a votie — selfie with your ballot — unless it is explicitly allowed in your state. An interactive map might help you figure out if your state allows voties. If your state has early voting, you can try to vote early to avoid long wait times, but many polling stations may still have lines during early voting so plan ahead.
And most importantly, everyone who can legally vote in this election has to. You have to vote for all the people that cannot. Immigrants without citizenship, some convicted felons, and people like me who are too young to determine our own futures by voting. People like me who will be persecuted by the Trump Administration and can’t afford to let you not vote. Vote because you aren’t only voting for your future, your voting for the future of our country and of our world.
About the Author:
After being subjected to homophobic harassment in the classroom, Isabella decided to try and use her writing to encourage others to stand up for each other and themselves. Isabella is a high school student in Lafayette, IN.